Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Don't talk, just do it!

A friend of mine reminded me of the old saying, "As lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week". I don't want to get into another discussion about liturgy and the relationship of Popes to Law of the Church, because the same friend reminded me that there was a time when no-one in the Church really spoke about Liturgy, they simply got on and did it.

I was struck that in this morning's Gospel the Magdalene is so involved in her grief, so bound in on her misery that she doesn't recognise the Lord, in fact I am not sure which woman in the Gospels is Mary Magdalene or who isn't, I tend to think the women who is on her knees at the Lord's feet or sitting at them is the same woman. In the Resurrection she is raised up and sent to the Apostles, with words, "Go, tell ...".

Jesus is always about imperatives, he holds up the Centurion who says, "I say to my servant do this and he does it," and seems to expect to be treated the same by Jesus. The soldier, Ignatius of Loyola seems to have seen himself doing the same thing with his new Order, he was all about imperatives, "Go, convert China!". "Go, risk death in England!"

When the disciples seem to want a nice spiritual chat about prayer, Jesus simply says, "When you pray say, Our Father...", he gives the explicit instruction which could be, "When you pray do this".

Over the last fifty years he Concilliar model of Church has dominated, discussion, endless discussion has dominated but the Gospel has nothing about discussion, it seems to be the very antithesis of the Gospel, the demons or Satan want Jesus to get into a discussion with them, it the desert Satan is rebuffed by a verse of scripture.

The practicality of the Gospel's call to feed, clothe, visit is about doing, there is no discussion, or even much thought, if you see someone hungry, the Christian response is to feed them, that is it.
At the end of the Gospel, at least Mathew's, Jesus really says, "Go and teach...".

As I have said I find Pope Francis washing of the feet of a Muslim girls quite disconcerting, even Popes must be bound to the Law, by the same token I actually rather approve of his spontaneity. He said something recently about self help courses can turn us into Pelagians, we really do have to learn to start doing things as Christians, it seems in that way Christ teaches us how to be Christians.

One of the things we Catholics seem to have lost sight of is that we are called to do good, so that we might actually be good. The great problem for us today is the world does not see us "doing good" and therefore doubts we are good.


gemoftheocean said...

You are so simple you are deep. =:^D

Jacobi said...


Re the “spontaneity” of the Holy Father, if it’s any consolation, I understand that Paul VI had to be reminded quite early on that he was not “a law unto himself”

I agree that we must get on with things, and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick etc in an appropriate way, since we cannot all be directly involved, - and, do our best to further the Reform of the Reform and encourage the ancient Gregorian Mass so that we also observe the first of the summarised commandments with the insight of fourteen centuries of Catholicism.

George said...

We all can come up with a lot of excuses for not doing good works.

William said...

Maybe I haven't been reading the right blogs (up till now, obviously), but I was surprised that no-one else – amid the general weeping/wailing/teeth-gnashing which greeted the Holy Father's failure to follow the Holy Week rubrics – had thought to quote the phrase "As lost/confused/baffled/bewildered as a Jesuit in Holy Week." Does that old saw perhaps tell us a whole lot more about what's really going on than the frenetic conspiracy-theorising to be found on … um … certain other blogs?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ah, if you are that William, it was that wise mutal friend.

William said...

Ah, that makes a lot of sense, Father! While I've not been in touch with our wise mutual friend since the HF's election, I can quite imagine him making that point. In fact it was probably from him that I first heard the expression.

ServusMariaeN said...

What most surprised me in this whole ordeal is that I cannot imagine Mgr Marini NOT counseling the holy father against doing what he did. I'm quite certain he must have.

We really must pray much for the holy father. I committed myself at the beginning of his papacy to an extra 5 decades of the rosary and more if I am able.

I liked this quote so much I posted it on my blog:

"...one should not leap to the absurd conclusion that all things are licit to the pope; or that he may turn things topsy-turvy in the Church at mere whim. Possession of power is one thing; a rightful use of power quite another. The supreme pontiff has received his power for the sake of building up the Church, not tearing it down. In exercising his supreme power he is by divine law strictly bound by the laws of justice, equity, and prudence. These laws require that unless necessity or great utility urge the contrary, the pope should, for example respect the legitimate customs obtaining in various places, observe prescribed ecclesiastical laws, etc. These laws, even though they do not possess a binding power for the pope, do nonetheless normally have for him a directive power."

Msgr. Van Noort's, Christ's Church (1958)


Cosmos said...

Thanks again, Father!

"We all can come up with a lot of excuses for not doing good works."

...and for not preaching the Faith!

Here is a little tidbit from Francis's rules for his friars:

"Let none of the brothers preach contrary to the form and institution of the holy Roman Church, and unless this has been conceded to him by his minister. But let the minister take care that he does not grant this leave indiscreetly to anyone. Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works."

NBW said...

Very well said, Father Ray. Thank you!

Tony Flavin said...

I've always been taught, and have taught my children that jokes at another's' expense are unkind.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Deacon Flavin,
Quite right, children can be so cruel to their parents.

nickbris said...

I was always brought up to believe that what the Pope said or did was what we followed without question.

Everybody around here seems to think that Francis was the wrong choice even though all our eminent leaders decided that the way of Francis was the only way forward to save the Church from the disaster that seems to have happened in Ireland.

We should all by now be aware that Benedict was forced out because he was causing a lot of unhappiness and dissent.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"We should all by now be aware that Benedict was forced out because he was causing a lot of unhappiness and dissent."
Do you have any evidence for that?
Who did the forcing?
Who was dissenting & unhappy?

As for your first statement, the Pope is Servant, not Master, of the Church. He is as bound by its rules as is anyone else.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

"Ah the management of princes! It was an old medieval custom. You invest a man with absolute power and then you must find ways to restrict his use of them." Cardinal Leone to Pope Kiril in SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN

GOR said...

One of my fears about the Year of Faith was that it would end up consisting mainly in talks, presentations, learned discourses, position papers etc. – and it has started that way in some places.

This mimics the business world where many people view productivity in the number of meetings they can attend or organize. Far too much time is spent in concocting ‘Mission Statements’, than in actually carrying out the ‘mission’. For us in the Catholic Church our mission was set a long time ago: “Go, therefore, teach all nations…”

Pope Francis is leading us away from the interminable, time-wasting discussions to actually doing things. It is the lesson of the Good Samaritan: see what needs to be done and do it – don’t just talk about it.

It may take us out of our ‘comfort zone’ - but perhaps we need to be shaken up.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Rufus, Nick etc.
The discussion is about living the Gospel, getting on with it.

You might want to go on endlessly about ad intra stuff, this is about the Christians getting living the Gospel.

Savonarola said...

Are not blogs like this adding to the discussion, endless discussion? Why not stop blogging and get on and do it?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, simply, but then I am a priest and I am supposed to preach, and this is part of that.
Should priests preach? is another question, as is, how hould they do it?

GOR said...

"Should priests preach...and how should they do it?"

Father you do preach - and not just by words. I have been impressed and inspired by the many works of charity you do in your parish.

I suspect Pope Francis may soon put before us the words of St. Francis: "You should preach always...sometimes even using words!"

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